Digital Adventures

Top hints and tips for making great audio slide shows for the web by claire_w
November 1, 2010, 10:00 am
Filed under: Engaging audiences, Garden Life, Kew website | Tags: ,

As the Digital Team at Kew endeavor to produce more video and slide shows for the web in house, I decided (as a member of the team) that it was time to get myself out and about a bit more, to learn more about the tricks of the trade – in particular top hints and tips for making great rich media for the web.

A Tour of Duty by Paul Kerley

As luck would have it, a week or two ago, Sound Delivery and Third Sector PR and Communications Network announced a free knowledge sharing workshop about making audio slide shows. Located at the Computer Club in the Aldgate area, the event took the format of a Q&A session with journalist Paul Kerley, the BBCs online audio slide show guru.

Paul was really open in sharing the knowledge and skills that he’s acquired over the years. So, for those of you out there like me, who are just starting out in audio/video production for the web, here’s some of Paul’s top tips for making fab audio slide shows:


1) For a successful slide show you need to source around 8-10 images per minute. The quality of images is really important. Use the best that you have.

2) For a 3 minute slide show you will need around 20 minutes of audio to edit from. Personal stories and first hand testimonials, with the interview questions edited out, work best.

3) Plan your slide show as much as possible before hand. Be clear in what you want to communicate and know your audience. Work out what questions you want to ask your subject, and have a list of photographs that you need to source and/or take.


4) Have a chat with your subject before you turn up to record the interview/audio. Get to know them a little bit, discuss the subject matter and find out the kind of things that they might want to talk about up front.

5) Brief your subject about what to expect in the recording session and advise them not to bring along a script to read out.

6) If you have sourced images already, make sure that you talk about these with your subject when conducting the interview.

Loving and living with Alzheimers by Paul Kerley


7) When putting your slide show together, always start with the images and then build the story (the audio track) around them.

8 ) Make sure you include a variety of images in your slide show and remember that ‘relevance’ is key. It sounds obvious, but the images used should compliment the audio and help to tell the story.

9) If you need to drop in bits of organisation messaging, make sure that you do this as short snippets within the story. Resist building the slide show around messaging.

10) Remember that a good opening image is crucial to capture people’s attention online. A strong closing image is also important to help viewers remember your slide show.

11) Add music to your slide show if you can. Music is emotive and can help to enhance the impact of your slideshow and connect with your audience. I’ve added some links to music licensing providers that sometimes do deals for charities below.

Promoting your slideshow

12) Research and find your ‘subject matter allies’ online. Develop a network of mutually beneficial connections with sympathetic bloggers and mainstream media channels where possible. Popular blogs and mainstream media channels (like the BBC, the Guardian and TelegraphTV) are often seeking good audio/video content to use online.

13) Where possible, take advantage of topical trends by promoting your slide show when it’s most relevant to the media appetite. If you make a slide show about growing pumpkins, approach popular bloggers and contacts at mainstream media channels in time for Halloween.

Example slideshows

As with all these things, I imagine it’s far more difficult to produce a great audio slide show in practice, than it may first appear in theory. But the team here at Kew are going to give it a really good go. Watch this space for upcoming Kew Media efforts!

– Claire Welsby –

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Useful links

14 Comments so far
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[…] around 8-10 pictures per minutes, explains Paul Kerley BBC’s audio slideshow expert.I made a few experiments about this matter.Here I put just 5 […]

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[…] Again, a great website with tips. If you are doing an audio slide show it is worth looking at this tips. […]

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[…] Again, a great website with tips. If you are doing an audio slide show it is worth looking at this tips. […]

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Did he say what software he used to get such optimised audio slideshows or is it in-house software?

Comment by Leon Cych

[…] source around 8-10 images per minute says Paul Kerley, also of Duck Rabbit fame, and the BBC’s slideshow […]

Pingback by What makes a good audio slideshow? | Audio Journalism

[…] read extensively about do’s and don’ts from some of the masters of the craft including Paul Kerley and duckrabbit,  Colin Mulvany and […]

Pingback by Audio Slideshows: an assignment on new media forms and communities of practice | Hedy Korbee

excellent post. I just stumbled upon your blog and even wanted to tell that I in fact liked following your blog. regardless i will become checking to your site as well as I wish you post yet again.

Comment by stosinsheks

ty 🙂

Comment by hacks aqworlds

thank you so much, very useful. All the best.

Comment by Alicia Haber

Hi Claire,

In my brief experience one little trick my friend taught me was to record a wild track. This is the space you are recording in when nothing is happening. It will help to smooth out any blips or production sounds you don’t want. This along with the music track can help to cover a lot of sound quality issues that may come up.


Comment by Hugh

Thanks for sharing this tip with us Hugh. We’ll definitely give this a try, sound can be quite challenging at Kew.

Comment by clairewelsby

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